Saturday, January 28, 2006

Why interoperability matters or Incompatibility sucks


At this time my frustation with Kodak's incompatible/unstandard Data transfer Cable(DTC) is at peak. I repent over buying this camera for the only reason that none of its accessories follow any proper standard so that you can buy a non-kodak stuff and use with the camera. Some one lost my DTC and I have checked with almost all the DTCs in the college and none fits in to this camera.


Now the only thing I can do to transfer my images from the Digicam is to buy another cable from Kodak at unreasonable prices (15$ compared to normal ones 10$). It sucks, doesn't it! I can't understand why they can put a normal mini-USB stuff at the camera end of the cable, which is the industry standard.

I have similar complaints with Motorola's Data Cable which aren't compatible even across its own phones. Mine (A768i) is entirely different from Sachin's (A780). Why the hell? Also I don't understand why do these ppl have to make different charging cables ? Even they are different for different phones from Motorola. Nokia's chargers are atleast standard for the Nokia phones. You don't have to carry your charger with you all the time, because someone else charger will fit in to your phones.

Incompatibility really sucks. I would really recommend ppl to buy cameras from brands like Olympus and Nikon because they adhere to the industry standards and don't put you into what is called a Vendor-LockIn situation. Besides they are better in functionality and look too.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Stumbling Upon

As I noted earlier web-browsing seems to have become an interesting thing again. Vakiba informed me about this great firefox plugin called stumble upon recently. Since I installed it and set my preferences, I have visited lots of very interesting pages. I shall recommend the same plugin to you too.

BTW stumbling is not only about giving you pages of your preference from others recommendation/tagging/reviews it gives you whole lot of web based options. It also gives me my own profile page.

I guess this Word of Mouth advertising really works and get great things spread too fast.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

ACCV

5 days of Fun+Work+Food+Loads of Activity+Learning + Meeting great ppl + Many many new friends ...

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Lake View Guest house HCU

Food :)No photoediting involved :)

With Dr. Andrew Blake

After not participating in initial planning stages of WCVGIP/ACCV, I finally got a chance to do some work. I along with Vandana and Gopal got the responsibility of Accomodation. We sat on a small desk near to the reception desk. Had lots of fun taking ppl to HCU Hostel H/ HCU Guesthouse and IIIT Hostels etc. That was our accomodation desk which was up during almost 99% starting 11th evening till 13th afternoon (particularly before Kanade's talk).

Our Accomodation Desk

14th Onwards I was only suppose to go to HCU in the morning and get the ppl to Taj Krishna from there. Sounds simple! No it wasn't that easy. We were suppose to start from HCU guesthouse at 7:20 AM. Now that time is really too early to ask any one to wake up, specially when all guys are from Engineering colleges. So as expected we never started on time :). 14th we reached safely, 15th we reached just in time, and 16th was a different story altogether.
IIT Bombday gang


On 16th morning, since most ppl had their luggage with them, made the bigger bus stand on the Hostel H, as against guest house. Then I went to guest house with other ppl had some photographs there during our breakfast. By the time I came back to hostel H the driver was gone. Now I was helpless, we blew the horn for some time, but no help. Finally we left from HCU at 8:03 AM when the talk was supposed to start at 8:30 AM. before I was gonna say sorry to the ppl in the bus, those ppl themselves said its okay, and they don't care much about the Plenary talk, that was much relieving.


HCU gang

The return journeys were fun too. Special one was from Rock Garden to HCU, where lot of confussion occured over buses. When Finally we got in the bus and I was trying to make room for the ladies(girls) :) I discovered three Chinese(realised later during conversation) were sitting, in this full packed bus. Surprisingly, I automatically changed my tone and spoke in broken/slow english and what I spoke was clear to them in the first attempt. The rest of the bus journey was fun too, especially because I had to collect money for the breakfast during this trip.

All the guys in the HCU hostels and Guest house have made this whole event very memorable and enjoyful. I hope they feel same too.
Part of the HCU gang
(me occluded under the red bag)
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Part of Organizing team
Part of Organizing team, after the conference got over.

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Funny ? Yeah I know :)

ACCV Banquet at Rock Garden


Friday, January 13, 2006

Ongoing WGCVGIP/ACCV 2006 and upcoming events @ IIIT Hyderabad

Lots of activities in the campus and many guests for the WGCGIP and ACCV 2006. Some of the very well known professors are around here and some others arriving at the conference are staying at some other places including Hotels and other Colleges. Some of the Non Professors but Practiceners are also here and I had opporunity to talk in detail with some of them, thanks to my task of handling Accomodation.

The college takes the pride in organizing some of the very big conferences for almost all the fields of Computer science areas. Recently the college hosted Comad 2005b and FSCTCS 2005. The next very big conference is IJCAI 2007 in Hyderabad. I Hope more ppl are getting aware of the research activities in the campus during the conference visits. The students should definitely take the opportunity to demo their work and talk to the visiting ppl to develop lots of new ideas.

It will not be a wrong place to mention our College's Cultural cum technical festival, Felicity 2006 which will be held on 3-5 Feb, 2006. There will be some cool technical events for the techies to participate in including the Online Programming, Online Stock market simulation (Equity Pulse) and Onsite hacking contests. Some cool cultural events are there too, but thats the place where I shall mostly enjoy spectators position. Hope to see you around in large numbers.

[Update: Come->cum thans to Jayram]

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Planetread:: A great Initiative

An interesting link I came across yesterday was planetread.org. In short its an initiative to help illiterate ppl getting literate via help of broadcast media and what they call same language subtitling.

The great thing to know is that investment of 1$ provide reading practice to around 10000 ppl. Impressive to say the least. Also as a side note, its one of the various activities google.org is talking up, so if someone does not create noise in media about philanthropic contributions it doesn't mean they are not doing it. (Google.org is quite an old news and was slashdotted long back).

In the News...CERT 2005 report, Google Pack and new Linux Phones

Lots of crappy news articles went around saying Linux less secure than Windows and similar stuff, various sites specially those who look for catchy news just tried to cash some hits by putting such headlines. Simple explanation for the numbers was that those guys (CERT team) added the number of vulnerability of All Linux Distros + All Unixes( HPUX, AIX, Solarix and may be other) + All Free Software bugs + MacOS bugs in to a category called Unix/Linux vulnerabilities and those unethical or stupid authors just removed the 'Unix/' from the the sentence as they liked. For a balanced reported article read this one.

In other news, Google has released another very initiated product Google Pack. Well anyone who installs a new OS realizes how much Google Pack will be important for him. I just guess there software collection will become better over time. It already has Real Media player, Acrobat reader, Google Earth, Google Desktop etc. Surely an intelligent step towards achieving a good base.

Also in news are some great Linux phones from Motorola and other vendors. Sadly Motorola doesn't wan't Linux smart phones to be programmed in QT but using Java.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

WHY KDE RULES

A very good article about why KDE rules. http://www.terra.es/personal/diegocg/kde/index2.html

Thats why KDE remains my favourite destop environment, It does consumes large amount of memory and is difficult to run with Matlab on a 256 MB machine of mine but it still is the best desktop for an average Linux user. I normally defend any critiscism of KDE by friends with some good points about KDE architecture and programmability. Yes I have tried programming in both Gnome and KDE environment and KDE is simply much more usable and mature for writting big good softwares.

The article talks in details about concepts which I knew vaguely and was most interested in knowing implementation wise.
Some sections discussed include DCOP, KIOSlaves, KPart. Would you guess that you can add text to a Kword document from command line using Dcop, or that you could query Amarok music player about the songs and playlist from command line? How about sending some one the output of a command (ls -l) using kopete and kontact. See below.
http://www.terra.es/personal/diegocg/kde/dcop-example.png

Meanwhile I installed amaroK lately, Yes the dependencies really sucked but then Yum was there to help. and the extra time I spend making the gstreamer work with amaroK looks worth, when I listen to music. I am already beginning to put headphones on all the time. (Unfortunately, amarok crashes on my computer during the startup sometimes due to some Gstreamer problem probably, I found the workaround, change the engine to arts engine, apply and then set it back to gstreamer work without segfault :))

Monday, January 02, 2006

The cool Midi File format

I transfered the Airtel Jingle from Sesh's phone to mine and when I played it I was disappointed. The tune didn't sound as melodious as it did on Sesh's Phone. Earlier I had got some vague idea that Midi files might be something that plays depending on the player app, this tune confirmed it.

So whats there in a Midi file?

Simple googling gave me lots of links describing the format. The general idea is that Midi file has a XML like approach. There are tracks which contains chunks. These chunks can be thought of as describing a node of music data. Where a node contains information like which instrument is to be played for how much time etc.
This makes the format very flexible. A player(sequencer) can ignore some nodes(chunks) if it doesn't know how to play them. Thus any sequencer if written properly will not crash even if a newer version of Midi file is played in it.
A very good app name kmidi which came with FC1 shows you clearly which particular instrument is currently being active. Do try that in case you are interested in understanding the usefulness of Midi File Format.

A very good reference is Midi format spec. As a side note, my Motorola A768i plays midi files with very less musically compared to a Sony Erricson or Nokia phone.